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Friday, 18 April 2014

BAE Systems Barrow sub deal hailed as ‘encouraging’ sign

THE awarding of a contract to BAE Systems for work on a new generation of submarines has been welcomed by campaigners.

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HOPEFUL: John Hudson, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, outside Devonshire Dock Hall

BAE Systems, which owns the town’s shipyard, yesterday announced it had been awarded the £315m contract to undertake design work on the replacement for the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class submarines.

The successor submarines are expected to come into service from 2028, but are not set to be officially approved until the government makes the so-called “main gate” decision in 2016.

If approved, the submarines will become the new carriers of Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles.

John Hudson, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, told the Evening Mail that the announcement was a measure of the government’s “confidence in our ability to deliver the programme”.

He was also hopeful the government would back the new fleet of submarines, although this was dependent on the decision by the Ministry of Defence following a vote in the Houses of Parliament.

“What we can say is that both the major political parties have said they support the maintenance of the UK deterrent,” he said.

“If the decision goes ahead, I am confident we will be building the new class of submarines.”

If this was the case it could see Barrow’s shipyard building the subs until 2040, providing work for generations of staff, he said.

The government is carrying out a review of whether it is necessary to provide a like-for-like replacement for the Trident defence system – something which the Conservative’s Lib Dem coalition partners oppose.

The findings will inform the final decision in 2016.

Mr Hudson said more than 1,000 workers were already involved in the project, although more experts would be required to work on it.

He said: “I suspect there are very few we will be able to source locally but we will be delighted if there are.”

Terry Waiting, chairman of the Keep Our Future Afloat Campaign lobby group, said the contract was an “encouraging” indicator the shipyard would be given the job of building the submarines.

It was important the workers came up with compelling designs for the project to be given the green light in 2016, he said.

“The programme could run until the 2040s and there are some wonderful opportunities for young people, but we have got to encourage young people to undertake education courses so they can have the jobs,” he said.

Mr Waiting warned Barrow’s future could not depend on the shipyard alone and organisations like Barrow Borough Council needed to ensure the town was attractive to other employers too.

Stuart Klosinski, industrial development manager for Furness Enterprise, said the contract “underpinned the future of the design team in Barrow”.

He added: “More particularly it is a major step forward in the design of successor and we will end up with a more robust design-based case for successor when the final decision comes to be made.”

Have your say

“I suspect there are very few we will be able to source locally but we will be delighted if there are.”
Your right John, while you actively discriminate against local contractors by splitting the rate on people living locally rather than skill levels like other BAe sites you wont get many locals as they are all getting paid double out of town and dont want to be paid less than less qualified and experienced guys from out of the area and discriminated against for being barrovian.....

Posted by David Scudd on 2 November 2012 at 11:33

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